Monday 7th September 2015 - Parliament returns today in a week that the deepening refugee crisis dominates the political agenda. I’ve had hundreds of emails from constituents who are appalled by David Cameron’s reluctance to let our country play its part and take our share of refugees – it was only late last week that he was shamed into agreeing that the UK will take more refugees, but we need to do more. I called for action early in August, spoke out on Newsnight last week and will be making the case for more to be done in a Parliamentary debate on Tuesday.
Refugee and migration issues dominate my week. On Thursday I’m leading a debate in the Commons calling for an end to indefinite immigration detention, arising from a cross-party inquiry of which I was Vice-Chair (see our report here), on Wednesday I’m hosting a meeting at which the Children’s Commissioner for England is launching a report on the impact of the Family Migration Rules on children and I hope to get along to a Children’s Society briefing on changes to the support paid to asylum seeking families.
Before all of that my week starts today with the remaining stages of the EU Referendum Bill, where I’ll be supporting the Shadow Foreign Office team in my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to our Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn. Tomorrow I’ve been drawn for Justice Questions where I’ll be challenging the Government on their attack on human rights and on access to justice. During the week I’ll also be meeting with representatives of the Methodist Church over benefit sanctions, on which I’ve led a debate in Parliament, and attending meetings and events with the Federation of Small Businesses, Breast Cancer Now and the UK Youth Parliament.
Unusually I’m staying in Westminster on Friday as the House is sitting to consider Private Members Bills and I’ll be there to support the Assisted Dying Bill – an issue on which I’ve spoken in Parliament before. Then I’ll be heading back to Sheffield to launch my Big Conversation with an event organised with Shoreham Street Tenants and Residents Association. On Saturday I’ve one of my regular open surgeries for constituents, I’m distributing Big Conversation leaflets with local volunteers (all offers of help welcome!) and then launching a new book about the Broomhall Centre as part of the Our Broomhall project - before heading to Bramall Lane hoping that the Blades great league start will continue! Finally on Sunday, I’ve a Big Conversation event at the Madina Mosque as part of their Open Day – do come along, it’s a great opportunity to find out more about what goes on in one of Sheffield’s landmark buildings.